Fear Cripples Authenticity

Fear cripples authenticity and once crippled it doesn’t hold enough power to sustain itself.  Our dreams then become like kites without wind. iStock_000007626121XSmall

That’s the problem with compromise. When you settle for less than you know you could have, you poke a little hole in your soul.

We can only take so many hits to our authenticity.  After awhile the only thing that will resurrect it is full bore, courageous, original choices.

My intention in this post is to cause you to pause and see where your compromises are slowly killing you. You have many unknown friends and supporters who await the inspiration of authentic expression that only you can offer.

Yes, we are all unique but there are threads and themes of affinity running through us.  We lift one another by standing tall enough so that others can feel the light from our boldness.

When you stand tall by making an authentic choice, in an area that also inspires me; I stand a little taller too.

We are so close to tipping our world back to authentic harmony.

More and more of us each day are beating the drum of authentic expression.  The biggest obstacle to enjoying such a world is simply the fear of looking like a fool.

But who’s truly the fool?  One who stumbles in sincere authentic expression or one who hides safely behind the insidious mask of trying to fit in?

Because of societal conditioning, the fear of looking like a fool runs like faulty DNA through the fiber of our beings and the only antidote is choosing more authentically, more often.

Pure authenticity is the only thing big enough worth risking the approval of others.  Authenticity requires glorious tribute to individual courage.

When you make the decision to stand tall in your own magnificence you must follow-through and announce it.  Authenticity without expression is a watered down, less powerful force that causes unnecessary internal struggle.

If you’ve been brave but falling short of the mark look and see if you may have been holding back or watering down your expression.

Authenticity is best used in service to transformation.  It’s truly the action of coming back to our most genuine core.  Such genuineness must be seized and asserted with the glory it deserves.

Fear not.  You have what it takes.  Claim the work life you were meant to enjoy and check back here often.  I’ve decided to lead this charge in a much bigger way.

If you want to take full control of your website and stop being held hostage by your webmaster, join a very authentic friend of mine, Suzanne Bird-Harris, for a full week of WordPress Summer Camp, on the phone, to learn everything you need to know to successfully and easily take control of your website. Suzanne is a hoot and a masterful teacher. Check out her surprisingly affordable camp.


  1. Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching says:

    Thanks for this Tom. One thing I’m seeing is that the biggest fear I tend to confront is the fear that I won’t be able to handle all the amazing things happening for me in my work. I’ve been taking regular breaks as more abundance comes into my life and just breathing and getting grounded and accepting that these things can happen for me.

  2. You always hit the nail on the head. Just yesterday I met with a friend and colleague and she asked me, “what’s your story? Do you have a story?” And I told her my story in full truth, something I haven’t shared with many. And she said “You do get me. You need to share that story.”

    Felt good to be real to the core. And once again I’m spinning…always looking forward to it, though.

  3. Suzanne @ vAssistant Services says:


    Thank you for mentioning me and my camp! “Fear not. You have what it takes.” Oh, how I’ve had to remind myself of this so often this year!

    When it comes to this camp, I’ve caught myself in the grip of many kinds of fears…small ones, like what if they think it’s weird that you want to actually build a campfire and host your evening Campfire Round-up Calls fireside? Outside? With the cidadas and tree frogs making all their racket in the background? And big ones, like what if you miss the mark and talk over their heads or worse yet, bore them to tears?

    Then, I take a deep breath. I remember how much I love teaching and WordPress and doing things MY way, and realize that camp is going to be great because I get to share what I love to do with people who want to learn in a way that is entertaining, memorable and fun.

    If people think I’m a little weird, well…seems to me being deemed a little weird is part and parcel of being authentic, and I can live with that!
    .-= Suzanne @ vAssistant Services´s last blog ..Interview with Tom Volkar: WordPress Summer Camp 2009 Sneak Peek =-.

  4. Here’s a tweak….my friend just wrote me today: “Fear is good. When we are afraid to be fearful that is when we are paralyzed.”
    .-= Susannah´s last blog ..Adversity – Shakespeare =-.

  5. This is spot-on Tom! Not easy, though. At least not for most, and not initially. I recall a moment this spring when I put myself ‘out there’ – and at the risk of feeling like a fool. And the thing was, I was embraced and accepted and it was a deeply moving moment for me. More than a moment, though, it’s been fuel I can look back on to keep those flames burning…in those moments that creep back up telling me that I’m not good enough, etc.

    .-= Lance´s last blog ..Less Stuff, More Meaning =-.

  6. Wow, Tom. The first sentence of this post hit me at the core.

    “Fear cripples authenticity and once crippled it doesn’t hold enough power to sustain itself.”

    I have recently struggled with living authentically and it just so happens that I have developed an unexplained pain in my foot, making it very difficult to walk. It feels as though my fear is literally crippling me.

    So thank you for helping to stress the importance of letting go of the things that hold me back. I’m very glad I stumbled across this site.
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..Change is hard =-.

  7. Chris – Congrats that’s a pretty wonderful fear to have, as fears go. I guess it’s a subset of the fear of success.

    Stacey – Goes to show, we just can’t speak our truth too much. You’re blessed to have friends who challenge you for it.

    Susannah – I agree. I don’t see that as a tweak at all. Looking at our authentic fears is the only way we can move beyond them.

  8. Fear: the number one crippler of us all. Thanks for writing this up Tom. It’s good to know someone else feels like us!

  9. Day after day, alone on a hill, the man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still . . . OK I’m old enough to remember the Beatles. I do think it is foolish to live a life of just fitting in.

    My struggle is not isolating myself – especially when it comes to making money: all that marketing advice about giving people what they want and not being focused on yourself. But perhaps it is authenticity that people are looking for. Still sorting all this through – as I guess you can tell.

  10. Viviana Sutton says:

    Fear cripples everything, I suppose. I once heard it described as “the paralysis of faith.”

  11. Hi Tom:

    Thank you for this inspirational post. I’ll be honest, I’ve spent too much of my life trying to fit in. Whether it was in school when I was aspiring to be more popular or much later in my adult life.

    I love the line you wrote, “When you stand tall by making an authentic choice, in an area that also inspires me; I stand a little taller too.”

    Thank you for the authenticity reminder at a time when I really need it!
    .-= Tim´s last blog ..The Only Source of Confidence: You =-.

  12. I really got beaten down by the public school system where I was in administration. My authenticity keep creeping and bubbling out where they really wanted an admin clone. The irony of it was that I got the job for being the authentic, creative, knowledgeable problem solver that I had always been, but when I was that in the admin job, I was scolded and told I didn’t fit in. It was a huge hit to my self esteem to be rejected because of who I am in my core but I keep reminding myself that I am more in-lined with who I am now anyway. And I really do know that…that I am more fulfilled because I am being more authentic but the wounds are deep and sometimes start oozing again. But while they ooze I am enjoying my business and doing what feels good for me to do.

    Some people cannot handle the authenticity of others for some reason. I’m not sure why. Threatened? Insecure? Who knows….

  13. Hi Tom. This caught my attention right off the bat: “When you settle for less than you know you could have, you poke a little hole in your soul.” The good news is we can fix those holes 🙂

    Doing something despite feeling the fear… that’s a rush! I had a similar converation with my younger brother this week. He is incredibly self-conscious and so controlled that he is rotobic-like: the way he walks, even the way he talks. Not a hair out of place — everything perfect.

    I’ve challenged him to reach out and be more playful with people he meets. Humour is a wonderful way to connect and break through those illusionary walls of judgment. Humour has been my life-saver.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..There’s Life Coaching & Then There’s Just Life =-.

  14. Hey Tom,

    Sometimes I wonder why I hesitate to share too many personal details about myself online. Is this out of self-protection in case of stalkers, or out of prudence in case people who know me in real life are reading, or because I’m not authentic and have parts of myself I want to hide? There’s definitely some fear guiding the way I live.
    .-= Daphne @ Joyful Days´s last blog ..3 Key Steps If You Want To Be Happy =-.

  15. Tom,

    Boy did I get here at the right time. I just put up a post that was so entirely different than anything I’ve done and to be honest, it really scares me.

    I’m definitely caught in “the fear of looking like a fool.” It is so hard sometimes to put yourself out there and hope that what you write (or do) doesn’t fall flat on the floor.

    These words from this post make me feel better, “Pure authenticity is the only thing big enough worth risking the approval of others. Authenticity requires glorious tribute to individual courage.”

    They are going on a sticky note and up on my computer right now!

    Thanks so much for this post:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Writing Assignment: Tree Story =-.

  16. Tom – Every honest person feels fear. The key is to feel and release so that one doesn’t become stuck.

    Evan – I’ll make you a deal. If I really figure it our before you do I’ll let you know. Do the same for me please? I know this much. Authenticity is an essential component. Interesting what you say about isolation. I’ve some experience creating unconditional support groups and that’s what I’m working on now.

    Viviana – Fear does cripple a lot but every once in a while it causes action when our backs are against the wall.

    Suzanne – Yes do it your way. That’s our only choice and by doing so your enthusiasm will shine through. It’s that enthusiasm that will make it valuable and memorable. Just blast out your weirdness. Others will follow.

    Tim – Welcome. I’m pleased that you like that line because we are all in this together. Shine your light and inspire those that only you could.

    Lance – Thanks God for loving supportive folks. You run in fine circles and I’m pleased they embraced you. I hope that has encouraged you to hesitate less and stick your neck out more. Leap brother – you’ll fly!

    Jill- Welcome! That’s an eye-opener I’ll bet the foot signifying being on firm ground for moving forward. Do you know what specifically you must do to express more authentically?

    Laurie – They can’t handle it because being authentic is a totally different way of being. It’s out there and feels unsafe to them. By being who you are you do threaten their view of the world were folks hide their true thoughts and feelings. The wounds eventually go away because you come to a point of just not giving a shit about them. Keep blasting your real self out there. We love it!

    Daphne – It’s wise of you to come clean about that. At first I was also more open in leaving comments on other blogs than on my own. But it’s what makes real connection possible. Share what you think is relevant to your posts and you’ll feel doubly good about it.

    Davina – What a lucky guy he is to have you for a sister. Yep we can patch all the holes but why poke them in the first place? I know you are being true to yourself and I admire you for it.

    Sara – I’ll be sure to come by and see what has you shaking. It must be a good stretch or you wouldn’t even feel that way. Good for you. You did it anyway. Keep doing that – it really does matter.

  17. Tom, there is so much good here! I love how you ask if we are watering down our expression. I strive to be “me” and I work hard at cultivating my best self and best life—but I still notice those times when around certain people I water myself down. It doesn’t feel great to do that but I suppose it’s just going to take time and confidence.
    .-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s last blog ..Live the Dream Now =-.

  18. Hi Tom,

    Like Davina, I also love the line, “When you settle for less than you know you could have, you poke a little hole in your soul.”. It reminds me of how many will get into relationships just to be in a relationship. Then if the other person treats them badly, they put up with it because they feel “a” relationship is better than no relationship.

    I’m fascinated by your statement that you’re “leading the charge”. I look forward to your future lessons.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..When The Conversation Stops =-.

  19. Jodi – Welcome. It would be interesting for you to observe what about those folks has you playing a little small. If you can identify the restricting them – then you can free yourself from it. I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself though, just identifying yourself as an agent of joy is more than enough to stand out!

    Barbara – Yes in relationship with others is were a lot of settling takes place. But it also takes place in our work and in the choices we make. I’m honored that you’ve noted my promise of playing bigger. It will be far more than just more lessons. Think of authentic support experiences. 🙂

  20. I feel so brave right now. Thank you.

    Pretty-much I know how to get where I want to go, but yes, fear holds me back. So thanks a bunch for this well-put reminder and consider me now about to whoop fear’s butt.

    And it’s funny, I picture you holding my hand and smiling your big friendly smile as I’m about to jump out of a plane — with full operational parachute and a back-up one strapped to me of course! And you saying “everything’s gonna be just fine, Jannie.” Actually, everything’s gonna be great!

    Thanks, Tom.

    And here I go in 3, 2 1 …..
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Why I Usually Grocery Shop Alone =-.

  21. Drat! It’s posts like this that make me take an honest look at myself and realise that, yes – there are things I’ve been avoiding out of fear! In all honesty though, you’re right – it’s time to step out of the comfort zone & see what amazing things I can accomplish!
    .-= Ross´s last blog ..August $50 giveaway =-.

  22. Jannie – Thanks for that image – my smile got bigger. That’s my life’s mission and I’m so honored to play a small role in your courageous leap. Being scared is the only way we know that it really matters. All is well.

    Ross – Go for it! If you can think it at all then of course you can create it. You are amazing indeed and I’m taking this as a public declaration that you are in the midst of busting through that comfort zone. I’m proud of you!

  23. Hi Tom

    The other day I came back to that question:

    “What would you be doing if you knew you would succeed?”

    I was incredibly, unbelievably surprised to reply that I would be doing exactly what I am doing right now! And, it’s a big risk. It’s like flying, but if I look down I get vertigo 😉

    .-= Juliet´s last blog ..Coping With Praise =-.

  24. Juliet – Now that is very cool. Therefore you might as well count on success and relax.

  25. Hi,
    Thanks for such an inspirational and useful post. Really a fantastic read!

Speak Your Mind